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Updated: June 16, 2011 12:22 IST

Japan to fuel power stations with quake rubble

DPA
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A Buddhist monk walks through the area destroyed by a tsunami in Yamada, Iwate prefecture, northern Japan. File photo
AP A Buddhist monk walks through the area destroyed by a tsunami in Yamada, Iwate prefecture, northern Japan. File photo

Japan is planning up to five new wood combustion power plants in a bid to clear some of the rubble left by the quake and tsunami in March while helping meet the country’s energy shortfall, a report said on Thursday.

The power plants are to be built in the provinces of Iwate and Miyagi, the area hardest hit by the March 11 disaster which left between 20 and 30 million tons of waste material, the Nikkei business daily said.

Around 5 million tons of that is wood, a widespread building material in the area, which will be used to fuel the new plants, each estimated to produce around 10,000 kilowatts per year, or enough to power 3,000 homes.

When they have used up the burnable rubble from the quake, the plants will be fuelled with by-products from the region’s forestry industry, the report said.

The government is to subsidise the power plants, whose operation costs are somewhat higher than wind or solar installations, in a bid to head off looming power shortages.

Several of Japan’s nuclear power plants, which together provide around 30 per cent of its electricity, have been shut down for inspection, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami left a plant in the north-east leaking radioactive substances.

Residents near some installations have demanded additional safety measures before the nuclear plants are fired up again.

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